Āyan (𐤏)

Acceptable ways to write it: āyn, āyan, iyn, iyan

The letter āyn (𐤏) is the sixteenth letter in the Afroasiatic language known as Paleo-Hebrew. The letter has been equated with the letter A, the letter E, the letter Gh, the letter I, and the letter O in the English language. Nonetheless, the letter A and the letter I are the most likely association for the letter in English. It is possible that it could be written as an I but pronounced like the letter A based on historical connections to the Igbos, Ibri, and Iberians, which are all derived from a progenitive ancestor of Ibar or Ābar.

paleo-hebrew ayn or ghayn

Nonetheless, the letter Gh does have historical support when looking at languages that branched from Ābarayat. Also, the letters E and the letter O are mostly used in Modern Hebrew in the English language. The multiple letters associated with āyn (𐤏) have caused much confusion and serious implications. We discuss this further under the “History of the Meaning

The Paleo-Hebrew language or Original Ābarayam language is one spoken with an emphasis on the rauach (breath, wind, spirit). With the language of the Ābarayam, each letter has a meaning and a number associated with it that adds meaning to each word they’re used with. Below you will be able to learn more about the letter in Ancient Hebrew, Aramaic, Greek, and much more. However, you can read more about the Paleo-Hebrew alaph-bayt on Wikipedia.

Ābarayt
Paleo-Hebrew
Ancient Hebrew
English
Masoretic Hebrew
Askenazi Hebrew
Israeli Hebrew
Modern Hebrew
Arabic
Aramaic
Syriac (Aramaic)
Greek
Latin
Cyrillic
South Arabian
Ge'ez
Letter
𐤏
Ā ā
E e
Gh gh
I i
O o
ע
ع
غ
ܥ
Ο ο
Ω ω
O o
О о
Ѡ ѡ
Ѿ ѿ
Оу оу
Ю ю
Ъ ъ
Ь ь
Ы ы
Ѧ ѧ
Transliteration
ayn
ā
e
gh
i
o
ayin
ayn
ghayn
ē
ē
omicron
omega
O
O
omega
ot
uk
yu
er
yer
yery
yus
Pronunciation
aïn
eh
e
gh
i
o
ayin
aïn
ghaïn
ē
ē
oʊˈmaɪkrɒn
oʊˈmɛɡə
o
o
o
ot
y
u

y
am or om

Number
70
N/A
70
70
70
70
70
70
70
Definition
Eye, to see, experience, watch, heed, know, cover, color
eye
perception, see, eye
veil, cover, unseen

History of the Meaning

The pictograph of the word is of an eye, look, or appearance and in Modern Hebrew, it is basically a silent letter. In Paleo-Hebrew, it held a sound, however, the true sound has been lost. Both the words for Hebrew and Eden begin with this letter. However, as mentioned above the confusion around which English letter is associated with the Ābarayat letter has caused for confusion.

The English word Hebrew comes from combining Ha (𐤄) written as “the” and Ābaray (𐤏𐤁𐤓𐤉) written as “Eberite” in modern translations. Ābar (𐤏𐤁𐤓) can also mean “heed the family of inheritance.” In Modern Hebrew, Ābaray is written as Ibri (עִבְרִי) and is another name for an Israelite. If we use the other letters that have been associated with āyn (𐤏) then we produce Ebaray, Ghabaray, Ibaray, and Obaray. Where “E” is also associated with alaph (𐤀) and “I” is also associated with yud (𐤉).

The English word for Eden (Garden of Eden) comes from Paleo-Hebrew’s Ādan (𐤏𐤃𐤍) and means luxury or pleasant. Together it is a word picture of “look through the door of life.” In Modern Hebrew, Ādan is written Eden (עֵדֶן). If we use the other letters that have been associated with starting letter then we produce Eden, Ghadan, Iden, and Oden.

History of the letter A

The letter A was introduced in 1800 BCE (2125 AM). Resembling an animal’s head with antlers or horns, the original meaning of the letter in ancient Shamay (𐤔𐤌𐤉) was “ox.” The letter that has stood at the head of the alphabet during traceable history. The name of the letter in the Phoenician (Paleo-Hebrew) period resembled the Modern Hebrew name aleph meaning “ox”; the form is thought to derive from an earlier symbol resembling the head of an ox. The letter was taken over by the Greeks in the form of alpha. In the Paleo-Hebrew alphabet, the letter stood for a species of breathing, as vowels were not represented in the Shamay (𐤔𐤌𐤉) alphabets.

History of the letter E

The letter E was introduced in 1779 BCE (2146 AM). The letter was pronounced like an “h” in Shamay (𐤔𐤌𐤉) and resembled a stick with two arms and a leg meant to signify a human form. The Greeks flipped it around in 700 BC and changed the sound to “ee.”

The sound represented by the letter was a mid-front vowel corresponding to the sound a makes in the word take. The latter sound was a diphthong, where e represented an unmixed vowel sound, such as that heard in French tête or été.

In English, an extensive change took place in the sound of the long vowel during and after the later Middle English period (probably between the 13th and 17th centuries). Just as the sound represented by the letter “a” moved forward until it was the same as what formerly represented “e”, so the letter “e” encroached upon the territory of the sound of “i.”

History of the letter Gh (ghayn)

The letter ghayn is the nineteenth letter of the Arabic alphabet, one of the six letters not in the twenty-two akin to the Phoenician alphabet. In name and shape, it is a variant of ʻayn (ع). Its numerical value is 1000. Canaanite languages and Hebrew later also merged it with ʻayin, and the merger was complete in Tiberian Hebrew. The South Arabian alphabet retained a symbol for ġ, 𐩶. Biblical Hebrew, as of the 3rd century BCE, apparently still distinguished the phonemes ġ /ʁ/ and ḫ /χ/, based on transcriptions in the Septuagint.

When representing the sound in the transliteration of Arabic into Hebrew, it is written as ע׳. In English, the letter غ in Arabic names is usually transliterated as ‹gh›, ‹ġ›, or simply ‹g›: بغداد Baghdād ‘Baghdad’, or غزة Ghazzah ‘Gaza’, the latter of which does not render the sound [ɣ]~[ʁ] accurately. The closest equivalent sound to be known to most English-speakers is the Parisian French “r” [ʁ].

History of the letter I

The letter I was introduced in 1000 BCE (2925 AM). The Greeks adopted the letter as “iota” changing it to a vertical squiggle. By 700 BC, “I” became the straight line we use today. The dot first appears in manuscripts of about the 11th century and was used to distinguish the letter and assist reading in words in which it was in close proximity to letters such as n or m. The dot frequently took the form of a dash.

It became the custom in medieval manuscripts to distinguish the prominent “i” by continuing it below the line, and it was from this habit that the differentiation of the letters “i” and “j” arose. The initial letter, nearly always lengthened, had most frequently a consonantal force, and this led to “j” representing the consonant, “i” the vowel. The two letters were not considered separate until the 17th century.

In Shamay (𐤔𐤌𐤉), the letter represented a sound akin to the English y. In Greek, Latin, and the Romance languages it has represented a high front vowel similar to English long e, as in be.

History of the letter O

The letter O was introduced in 1800 BCE (2125 AM). “O” starts its life on Matsarayam (𐤌𐤑𐤓𐤉𐤌) hieroglyphs (around the time as “M” and “N”) as “eye.” Shamayam (𐤔𐤌𐤉𐤌) called it “ayn,” but with a guttural sound that sounds like “ch.” The Abarayam reduced the eye to just the outline of a pupil, our “O.” The Greeks in adapting the Shamay (𐤔𐤌𐤉) alphabet to their own use used this letter (omicron) to express the vowel o, as the letters “aleph”, “he”, “cheth”, and “yod” were used to express vowels. Vowels were not expressed alphabetically in Shamay (𐤔𐤌𐤉). The form of the letter on the Moabite Stone was small o, and this small form appears in early Greek inscriptions from Thera and Corinth.

The Greeks at first used the letter to represent not only the short closed vowel o but also the long open o and certain other long vowels of the o tone resulting from contraction of compensatory lengthening. The use of Ω, or omega, in origin apparently a variant form of O with the value of a long vowel, gradually spread with the spread of the Ionic alphabet throughout the Greek-speaking world. In Latin, the letter O stood for the same vowel without distinction of length, and the sound has partly passed into the Romance languages unchanged, partly with certain alterations, among the more striking of which is the Spanish change of short o to ue (e.g., puerto from Latin portum).

In modern English the vowel has undergone changes. The long o has become a diphthong (ou), as in the words bone and rose. Short o has become more open and lower, as in rob. The short sound is the descendant of Middle English short o in which both the closed and open short o, which were distinguished in Old English, met. The long o, now a diphthong, descended from Middle English long o, an open sound, which was derived from Old English long a.